COMMUNITY BOWL #2

6/9 2009
MADE BY:
Stockholm, Sweden

On 6th September 2009 during the local event known as “Birkastans Dag” we opened our workshop at MADE BY: and invited passers-by to help make our Community Bowl #2. MADE BY: provided the material, the hammer and posted simple instructions for those interested in taking part. After 5 hours of continuous hammering 129 people had finished the piece.

What they had done was make a tangible connection to one and other; they had created a community around a physical object.

129 people who were brought together by chance made the Community Bowl #2. This however does not make them a completely random group. The CB#2 community is a cross-section of local residents, their friends and relatives, and they are a reflection of the neighbourhood in which the bowl was made. These people took part in our project for fun, without payment to make an object that in itself is widely used to symbolise a community or closed society.

COMMUNITY BOWL #2

On 6th September 2009 during the local event known as “Birkastans Dag” we opened our workshop at MADE BY: and invited passers-by to help make our Community Bowl #2. MADE BY: provided the material, the hammer and posted simple instructions for those interested in taking part. After 5 hours of continuous hammering 129 people had finished the piece.

What they had done was make a tangible connection to one and other; they had created a community around a physical object.

129 people who were brought together by chance made the Community Bowl #2. This however does not make them a completely random group. The CB#2 community is a cross-section of local residents, their friends and relatives, and they are a reflection of the neighbourhood in which the bowl was made. These people took part in our project for fun, without payment to make an object that in itself is widely used to symbolise a community or closed society.

CB#2 raises a number of questions, questions that are also pertinent in the larger context concerning ownership and intellectual rights. The idea for CB#2 came from MADE BY: but obviously we could not use the term “community” if we made the bowl ourselves, so the ownership of CB#2 is not completely clear as it was made by 129 people.

Our solution to this question has been resolved by giving CB#2 back to the community as a donation to The National Museum. By doing so however other issues are raised. The National Museums raison d’être is “to preserve cultural heritage and promote art.” The cultural heritage that we make everyday is our legacy to the future, and we all take part in creating it, so why then is it not freely available in a modern and prosperous democracy like Sweden. Should the 129 people who made CB#2 be require to pay to see their work in a museum? If the answer is no, why then should anyone else?

The word “community” has been given and extended meaning in recent years as social networking online has taken seed, blossomed and achieved a degree of maturity. Almost everyone with access to the Internet is a “community” member at some level. Such communities are driven by a shared interest and not constrained by geographical limits. This allows people to interact with like-minded individuals around the world in a number of different ways; either as oneself or as whatever person one chooses to be. That our online self is such an important part of our lives can be seen as another evolutionary step in a “Revolution of Isolation” that has followed our ascension from subsistence farming to popular affluence

With CB#2 MADE BY: examines not what makes us individuals but why we find it so imperative. Being “ourselves” under the veil of anonymity offered by the Internet seems much easier than in “real life”. Is this because we all have so much in common? Repeating the project to make CB#3 would produce another unique piece, but this continuation of the process would also dilute result. Similarities become more pronounced as numbers increase and in the end unique pieces become almost indistinguishable from each other.

MADE BY:s CB#2 project offered those willing to participate the opportunity to become an anonymous member of a community where the results of their input is what stands clearly focus.

129 people took us up on our offer.

 

Agnieszka:

An “interactive” project like this one with an enthusiastic public as it’s main component opens and encourages a spontaneous dialogue. It’s this dialogue that interests me. I want to know how other people think and look at life, it gives me perspective.

When engaged in a common project, camaraderie develops in which social barriers are broken down and the gaol becomes the focus. I like that moment; it’s the moment when the object becomes more than just the sum of its components.

Åsa:

There is a very important basic need that goes unfulfilled if we live a life apart from those around about us. I like to feel at home in my neighbourhood and enjoy greeting people I know when I’m out. People are so good at setting up barriers and drawing invisible borders that when a project like the Community Bowl is initiated we automatically expect it to fail, and we enjoy it at a very fundamental level when it doesn’t.

David:

Having such an unknown quantity as 129 strangers as a collaborative partner in a project means complete surrender of control. This goes against the grain of the modern crafts ethos where the individual stands as sole creator of her work. As crafts practitioners have striven to be accepted as artists on their own terms and set a path to place the crafts alongside the fine arts, so has the audience for our work decline. I see our project as a counterpoint to this. By inviting our neighbours to take part in the CB#2 project brings us closer to the people around us and can be seen as a step back a time to when craftsmen had a more integrated role in the community.

MADE BY:

Agnieszka Knap, Åsa Lockner & David Taylor formed MADE BY: in 2007 and have their base in Birkastan in Stockholm


See the film at youtube.com

See more images below.

See the film at youtube.com.

COMMUNITY BOWL #2
COMMUNITY BOWL #2
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